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Knee Deep: A Complex and Vulnerable Joint


The knee is one of the largest joints in our body. It’s also one of the most complex.  It is the intricate hinge where the thigh bone, shin bone, fibula, and knee cap all come together. And because it’s bound by an intricate system of tendons, cartilage, ligaments, and of course muscle, the knee can be highly prone to injury.

Every time we move, we put an enormous amount of mechanical stress on our knee. The knee’s ligaments can tear, its tendons can swell, osteoarthritis can take hold, and even every day activity can ruin a perfectly good set of knees. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, knee injuries are among the most prevalent musculoskeletal injuries in the country.

“Your knees essentially serve as your ‘wheels’ that allow you to move around and be active,” said Dr. Tuvi Mendel. “Every day, we ask our knees to move back and forth, twist, and pivot.”

While our knee is designed to handle this type of wear and tear, there are certain bad habits that can shorten the life of your knees, and open the door to chronic pain and disability.

Here are four pitfalls you can avoid to save your knees:

  1. Ignoring Knee Pain — A certain level of soreness and tenderness is common. However, if pain persists, make sure to get it checked out.
  2. Being Overweight — Along with age, being overweight is a leading factor in raising your risk of developing osteoarthritis. Dropping extra weight — particularly body fat — may be the single most important thing you can do to reduce the risk of developing a serious knee problem.
  3. Overdoing It — A healthy exercise regimen includes days that allow you to rest and recover. A lack of recovery time can lead to injuries from repetitive strain.  
  4. Overlooking Muscles Around the Knees — When the muscles around the kneecap, hip, and pelvis are strong, it keeps the knee stable and balanced. Don’t forget about the quadriceps and hamstring muscles, as well as proper strengthening of the body’s core muscles, including the lower back muscles, and upper thigh.

Minimally Invasive Treatment
Minimally invasive surgery involves the use of a smaller incision than the one used in traditional surgeries. This results in less tissue damage, which in turn, can lead to shorter hospital stays, a shorter recovery period, and a smaller scar.

While adjustments in diet, muscle tone, and weight can have a positive impact on your knees, and all of your joints, sometimes surgery is required.

In those cases, you’ll find the team at OS is dedicated to providing you the personalized attention and treatment necessary for you to regain what you’ve lost in life. In fact, the new technology and techniques have made surgical treatment much simpler than in the past.

“Here at OS, we take the minimally invasive surgical approach,” said Dr. Mendel. “Minimally invasive procedures result in less downtime, and faster recoveries. In fact, many patients are able to leave the hospital or surgery center the day the surgery takes place.”

To learn more about Orthopaedic Specialists, call 563.344.9292, or visit OSQuadCities.com.

Photo credit: Moncherie/iStock